Infantile aperiodic alternating nystagmus

Richard W. Hertle, Leah Reznick, Dongsheng Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: This study identifies the clinical and ocular motility characteristics of the periodic and aperiodic forms of infantile alternating nystagmus (IAPAN) and establishes the range of electrophysiological and clinical characteristics while providing clues to its presence and pathophysiology. Methods: Seventy-eight patients with ocular oscillations consistent with IAPAN were reported. Outcome variables were: age, follow-up in months, vision, strabismus, other eye and systemic abnormalities, head position, periodicity, cycle and null period duration, foveation time, waveforms, and cycle symmetry. Results: Age range was 1 to 67 years, 50% had pure periodic and aperiodic forms, 46% had albinism, 26% had binocular acuity of 20/40 or greater, 72% had strabismus, 35% had amblyopia, 31% had other eye disease, 14% had systemic disease, 87% had an anomalous head posture, and 65% had binocular directional asymmetry. The periodic cycle averaged 224 seconds and the aperiodic cycle ranged from 2 to more than 300 seconds. One in three patients with strabismus and nystagmus periodicity had a static head posture. Conclusion: Fifteen percent of the infantile nystagmus syndrome population had either the periodic or aperiodic form. A changing null period is often clinically missed because of long or irregular cycles, decreased acuity, associated strabismus, and either a nonexistent or inconsistent head posture. The changing null period is easier to recognize using eye movement recordings or if the non-preferred eye is occluded and the preferred eye is examined with the head straight and gaze in primary position for at least 5 to 7 minutes. The recognition of this variant has profound treatment implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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